Incarceration for Court Fees Voted to End by Benton County Commi - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Incarceration for Court Fees Voted to End by Benton County Commissioners

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BENTON COUNTY, WA- Benton County was one of the few remaining counties imprisoning those unable to pay their court fees until Wednesday December 2, 2015. On Wednesday, county commissioners voted to end this practice. 

The practice gives credit to those ordered to jail and work crews to pay outstanding fees. A person is credited with $50 for spending a day in jail and $70 for a day on the work crew. With the practice ending, the Washington American Civil Liberties Union is following through with their lawsuit, they say it is unfairly targeting the poor. We talked with Doug Honig who is the spokesperson for ACLU Washington.

Honig told us there is still a lot left that needs to be fixed, "there are other unresolved issues, first of all there are people in jail under the previous system and they shouldn't be in jail simply because they're too poor to pay and they're people facing arrest warrants because they're too poor to pay and they shouldn't be facing arrest warrants for this and so those two things need to be cleaned up and the county commissioner was the first step but it's not the end all and be all".

He also said another important piece that needs to be cleaned up is making sure that parties imposing and collecting the debts are clear on what to do in order to be constitutional and fair.